My thoughts on the Beacon problem

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Repomeister, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    What beacon problem?
    If you don't know then you probably don't use beacons. If you use beacons then you probably wonder why more often than not they simply do not work. I don't believe it is "just a server thing" as a few select people have told me with straight faces.

    If you are trying to use a beacon you will notice that instead of staying on continuously as long as you are within range, it will instead turn off for long moments - sometimes a minute or more - and then turn back on for a few seconds and then stop working again. It is dead. It simply does not work.

    Well maybe it is just a "Server Thing"?
    No. If it were just a "server thing" then there wouldn't be a near perfect statistical correlation between the beacons not working and a specific player (we will call him/her "Player X") being online. If it were a "server thing" then the beacons would just stop working in accordance with the server's own arcane decision-making process and there would be no statistical correlation between the functioning of beacons and the presence or absence of Player X.

    What correlation?
    Over the past few months several independent experiments were conducted where 1 staff member would be positioned so as to load suspected lag chunks while another staff member would monitor a redstone lag detection device. This device operates on the principal that circuits that rely on fast-pulse timing to function properly will begin to breakdown in the presence of server lag and that if you build into the circuit a way to announce this breakdown you can use the circuit as an effective lag detector. This is a well-known circuit and is simple, reliable and effective.

    This circuit was used to verify the mountains of anecdotal evidence that has piled up in the form of "My beacons stop working whenever Player X is online".

    To be clear: Sometimes for very short periods of time, the beacons will also stop due to some confluence of events that cannot be reliably reproduced and can be considered transitory and of no statistical significance. Player X has suggested that "I am not the cause of the lag because the beacons lag sometimes when I am not online". This is a form of the logical fallacy called "Denying the Antecedent". An example of this same logical structure that will make it more obvious is this:
    1. If you behead the King, he will die
    2. You did not behead the King
    3. Therefore, the King will not die

    As you can see, is absurd because it implies that it is impossible for the king to die except by beheading. But notice it is the exact same logical structure as:
    1. If Player X is online then the beacons will lag
    2. Player X is not online
    3. Therefore the beacons will not lag

    The fact that the beacons sometimes lag when Player X is not online has no bearing on the correlations that exist.

    A short aside....
    Some time back a moderator noticed my entities were causing lag so I was asked to slaughter half of my animals. Was I happy about this? No. But I think that moderator (Elle Lightbulb) was doing a heck of a job in investigating conditions that cause the overall player experience to deteriorate - she was doing her job and doing it well. I choked back my tears and I began to slaughter those animals in ways that haunt me to this day. I even beat a sheep to death with a piece of Fried Fish! After a short time it became something of a lark as I fired fire arrows straight up and waited to see who the lucky sheep would be.

    Anyways, I also think the staff who investigated these reports of severe beacon disturbances were also doing a great job and everyone who plays on VanillaWorld should thank them if this information I am posting now is acted on in a way that eliminates the cause of this lag.

    So, what is going to happen?
    Well, that depends on the flow of actions that occurs next. So let's explore a flowchart of what might be going on - what could explain the beacon situation.

    1. Does the senior staff believe there is a beacon problem?
    So which is the more likely scenario? To NOT believe there is a problem they would need to believe that all of the players complaining in chat, all of the players sending messages, the results of the mods lag detectors and the anecdotal statistics of beacon lagging starting when Player X comes online and stopping after Player X logs off are all LIES.

    CONCLUSION: My life experience tells me it is more likely that the senior staff believes that there is a beacon problem.

    2. So, acknowledging there is a problem, do they believe it is caused by Player X?
    Here we must first ask if staff thinks it is random or if it has a cause. For them to believe it is random they would again need to just assume everyone who has correlated the arrivals/departures of Player X with the beacon lag are lying or simply incapable of performing anything as complex as noticing such a correlation.

    CONCLUSION: I don't believe the staff could ignore all of the evidence and so must understand that Player X is causing the lag

    3. So if they recognize there is a problem and know who is causing it, are they going to fix it?
    I see two possibilities here:
    1. They have been furiously working on the problem for months but no matter how much time/effort/money/etc. they pour into it, they cannot find the fix
    2. They have decided not to bother fixing it

    Note that there are several types of "hey - here's a happy pill for ya" actions that could be said to have been taken in an "effort" to fix the problem but unless it is #1 above, we all know it is really #2.

    For example - "we tried xyz but it only abc'ed so we are waiting for blah blah blah" Yeah. This is covered by #2 above.

    So why isn't it fixed?
    Have they tried World-editing out the chunks we all know is causing this and then seeing if the lag goes away? Why not?

    When a decision is made, it is ALWAYS made to the benefit of the person making the decision. Sometimes this benefit is to gain something positive and sometimes it is made to avoid something negative. So the reason why this beacon problem still exists can be determined if we knew the benefit attached to not taking action.

    Because the clear and obvious action to remove the lag would be to go to Player X's chunks and temporarily remove them to see if the problem goes away and this is not being done, we can look into why messing with Player X's land would be such a negative consequence that it would serve as motivation for not taking action - and think how negative indeed it must be! To have so many players livid about their beacons being nerfed and still choose to not touch those chunks.

    So WHY? What is the connection between whoever Player X is and the senior staff not being willing to fix the problem for everyone on this server by touching those chunks?

    This is where logic must cease for the answers to these final questions are clouded in the murky world of interpersonal relationships and I am merely a player.

    In Conclusion
    Okay. So please understand that I am not judging anybody! This is a private server - I am not saying that the staff here "should" do anything related to game play at all - it is their server to do with as they please. I guess the purpose of all this is to ask for the respect that I feel is due ALL people and has nothing to do with the server or game.

    It seems to me that it has been decided to allow Player X to ruin the experience of using beacons on this server and we as PEOPLE, deserve to at least be told the truth so we have all the facts needed to make fully educated decisions about what we do next - I spend $120 a year to play here and I would like the full Minecraft experience.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
    XeniaXD, Taerran and Xeriana like this.
  2. Xeriana

    Xeriana Moderator Staff Member

    • What beacon problem?
    Xeri has definitely noticed an issue with beacons, as well as with redstone.

    • Well maybe it is just a "Server Thing"?
    Partially agree, partially disagree.
    Xeri thinks it actually is a "Server Thing" but the server isn't completely at fault. Before 1.12 (or was it 1.11?), our server ran just fine at all times. Minimal redstone issues and minimal beacon issues, regardless of whether or not Player X was online. However, ever since that update, there has been an lag issue just about every time Player X came on. So yes, there is a heavy correlation, but it is something between the server and Player X, not -completely- on Player X's shoulders.

    • What correlation?
    Can confirm lag detection machine and independent experiments done not only by staff, but also by dedicated players. Most or all have indicated the same certain player (Player X) as the source.

    To further clarify the point you're making here, the wikipedia example of Denying the Antecedent fallacy uses is

    If you are a ski instructor, then you have a job.
    You are not a ski instructor._____________
    Therefore, you do not have a job.

    That statement is very clearly absurd, as if to suggest that a ski instructor is the only job anyone can possibly have. Perhaps you may have a job as a bank clerk or a cattle rancher or a barista. There are other jobs that someone can have that doesn't necessarily have to be a ski instructor.

    That same logic can be applied to Player X, which is why the following argument is also untrue.

    If Player X is online, the beacons will lag.
    Player X not online._______________
    Therefore, the beacons will not lag.

    Player X is not the only thing that can result in a server lag, so there can be some times when the server lags while the player is offline. These particular lags are unrelated to Player X, which nullifies the "I am not the cause of the lag because the beacons lag sometimes when I am not online" argument.

    • A short aside....
    • So, what is going to happen?
    • 1. Does the senior staff believe there is a beacon problem?
    Your conclusion is correct. VW staff (at least Xeri) mostly believe that there is an issue with server lag that affects beacons and redstone and possibly other things that have not yet been brought to our attention.
    • 2. So, acknowledging there is a problem, do they believe it is caused by Player X?
    As someone who has personally conducted experiments, and later repeated and verified with another staff member, yes, Xeri does believe that it is at the very least caused by something in Player X's area.
    • 3. So if they recognize there is a problem and know who is causing it, are they going to fix it?
    The thing about fixing it is that this particular problematic-though-not-yet-rulebreaking issue would have to be the final say of Thy. Xeri brought this to Thy's attention long ago. Full disclosure - It's no secret that Xeri has never really been fond of Player X, so perhaps Thy took Xeri's concerns with a grain of salt thinking Xeri might have a biased judgement. However, he did look into the case at least once and seemed to confirm that it was perhaps something in Player X's area. This was about two years ago.

    Quite honestly, Xeri would also love to have this problem resolved, but Xeri doesn't have the resources, knowledge, or access that's required to do something about it long-term. The most Xeri could currently do to resolve this issue is to remove Player X from the server, yet that in Xeri's opinion is far too extreme.

    • So why isn't it fixed?
    Only Thy is capable of using WorldEdit, so the moderators aren't able to test it this way.

    Honestly, Xeri's wondered the same thing. This was not the first issue Xeri's come across with Player X. In fact, Xeri's had many issues with Player X, all of them brought to Thy's attention, which have either been ignored or swept under the rug. So Xeri, too, is at a loss for answers. Sorry.

    • In Conclusion
    Xeri completely agrees with you here. The convenience of Player X should not be at the expense of the enjoyment of hundreds of others, especially when players like yourself pay a monthly fee for various perks. Unfortunately, the final say has to go through Thy, and he's been busy with his own life. Surely if there are enough players who appeal to him, he might see that this problem is big enough to warrant addressing. This post was a good start. Thanks, Repo. :3
    XeniaXD and Repomeister like this.
  3. Ontvlambaar

    Ontvlambaar Pizza addict Staff Member

    Like I pointed out towards Repo, I (like Xeri mentioned above) do not believe that the lag is completely caused by Player X. I've tested the exact same setup in a single-player world and didn't have any lag issues at all.
    I agree, there's some correlation between Player X being in a certain area and the beacon lag. But if one player is capable of causing all this lag on their own, four players who have four area's the size of Player X's should technically cause the same lag. That shouldn't normally happen on a server (regardless of which server it is).
  4. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    1 am 100% open to alternatives. I might be looking at this the wrong way. The fact that there is a 100% correlation between Player X coming online and the beacon lag starting (not "some correlation" as mentioned above) is perhaps indicative of a server problem and not a sign that Player X has done anything wrong.

    For example, let's say I was a brand new player and I had zero builds, nothing created, nothing mined, no blocks placed, etc. But every time I punched a tree and got wood the server lagged out and beacons stopped working. Obviously, I have done nothing "wrong" and the problem is something with the server.

    I am willing to apply that same mindset to Player X. I presented the scenario as I parsed it based on what I was experiencing. I have no animus towards Player X and would never want to see a player have their work undone if that work isn't unfairly affecting the server. However, if that player is not only the only player who causes the lag 100% of the time just by showing up but they are also the only player with some immense structure of ungodly redstone and hoppers and repeaters/comparators/etc. etc. then we are probably not looking at a "punch the tree and the server breaks" scenario.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
    XeniaXD likes this.
  5. Ontvlambaar

    Ontvlambaar Pizza addict Staff Member

    An alternative I've thought of was copying the structure in a seperate world, so that it doesn't effect the normal survival server.
    Repomeister likes this.
  6. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    That would be an awesome win-win
  7. ohLucky

    ohLucky Member

    I discovered a way (accidentally) to keep the beacon effects on at all times (when in range.. obviously..) I have a 'rainbow' beacon in my area where various colours of glass blocks are pushed by a piston over the beacon beam and retracted constantly. It seems to keep the effect there constantly, and never goes below 16 seconds as it's refreshed by the glass, it seems. Just bare that in mind if you're looking to keep the effects on at all times.
    Repomeister, XeniaXD and Sammie_gaga like this.
  8. Taerran

    Taerran Active Member

    Last week I was sitting afk at the sheep farm in the community area to collect some coloured wool, and I bred the sheep to fill up their respective corrals so I could get more wool at a time. Then Xeri happened to come by and noticed that I had 778 sheep there. Since large numbers of entities in one area will cause lag throughout the server that other players will experience, and since a couple years ago 2 players almost crashed the server by having over 1000 chickens, VW has an unwritten-but-still-enforced rule that the maximum number of entities in one area should be ~250 so that everyone on the server can enjoy the game lag-free.

    -Did Xeri expect that I stop playing on VW so that I didn't cause lag for others? No.
    -Does Xeri hate me? No.
    -Does Xeri hate my sheep? No.
    -Did Xeri slaughter my sheep to bring the numbers down? Oh yes, Xeri did!

    In the same way no one is saying that Player X should stop playing. No one is saying that Player X creates all the lag that is felt on the server. No one is saying they hate Player X or Player X's area. The point of this post is stating that the lag spike that is noticed while Player X is online is a problem and should be dealt with - either by changing the way Player X's area is set up or some other lag-reducing plugin... I don't really know how this stuff works, but to ignore that there's a problem isn't the way to go about it.

    If I had watched Xeri slaughter my sheep and then defiantly bred more once Xeri left, that would be pretty selfish of me to knowingly lag the rest of the server. I know that Xeri and the other mods wouldn't be happy with me and I would probably receive warnings not to do it again. If I had kept lagging everyone else in this manner after being warned, it probably would have resulted in being banned since I refused to comply. I don't think it was unreasonable to expect me to take responsibility for my area and make sure I'm not causing problems for everyone else. After all, other people want to enjoy the game too.

    If some players are expected to be responsible, it's only fair that every player should be expected to be responsible. We should all be held to the same standards.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  9. Sammie_gaga

    Sammie_gaga Moderator

    "If some players are expected to be responsible, it's only fair that EVERY player should be expected to be responsible. We should all be held to the same standards."


    Sums it up pretty nicely! :D
  10. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    Have you verified that this works over a statistically significant amount of time? Because if player X TPAs to another area when you turn on your rainbow device it might look like it is working. Please let me know if you have done this and seen it work consistently while the beacons were lagging.
  11. ohLucky

    ohLucky Member

    I can confirm that it works 100% of the time. My girlfriend and I are always in the area and go to and from it often. It's never dropped below 16s.
    Repomeister likes this.
  12. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    I will give this a try if the beacons start to lag again but lately they have been working just fine
  13. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    After much testing and duplication of results (which was difficult because for awhile Player X wasn't online and so the beacons always worked) I have to say THANK YOU! your technique seems to have fixed the issue.

    So how does it work? As a developer I would posit this:

    I already know Minecraft works on a message dispatch cue architecture for handling what it needs to do within the game's internal clock system (ticks) so whenever something needs to happen in the game, it sends a message to main handler requesting something gets done and that message is sent to one of several queues depending on the priority of the message.

    I think that the message being sent to refresh the beacons is a lower priority request and so goes to the queue of things that the game feels are so low-priority that if the message dispatcher runs out of time before it runs out of messages to process it can safely ignore the rest of the messages that tick-cycle.

    But the message being sent to change the beacon's beam color (which by itself is super low priority) requires such a fundamental change to the beacon object itself (probably due to having coded themselves into a corner way back when) that it requires calling the same code that gets executed when a beacon is first activated and that code contains the request to begin status effects and that request is a high-priority request and so always gets handled.
    XeniaXD likes this.
  14. lordoftherings252

    lordoftherings252 Active Member

    I had issues regardless who was on VW at the time, somehow even worse when less people than usual were online. not sure if it’s me just me though.
  15. Repomeister

    Repomeister Member

    Yes. There will be issues. It was discussed above - just because 100% of the time this person is on the beacons lag doesn't mean that other people won't experience beacon lag from time to time when that person isn't on.

Share This Page